Why we shouldn’t celebrate vigilante justice

Warning: the video contains graphic language.

Randall Margraves is the father of two daughters who were sexually assaulted by Larry Nassar, the convicted former U.S.A gymnastics doctor.

At his sentencing hearing this morning, Margraves asked the judge to speak. He then asked if he could have five minutes alone with Nassar. The judge said, “No sir,  I can’t do that.” He asked for one minute and the judge said, “You know I can’t do that, that’s not how our legal system…”

The judge was interrupted as Margraves charged towards Nassar before being tackled by  law enforcement official.

Certainly I’m sympathetic to this man, and more importantly, what his two daughters have had to endure. It’s horrendous.

Online, I’ve seen overwhelmingly I see positive reaction. These actions should not be celebrated. We our not a society based on vigilante justice and people taking the law into their own hands. We have a legal system. Larry Nassar is going to be spending the rest of his life in jail.

I’ve seen other incidents where people have tried to attack their attackers in court. I always see comments about how the sheriff’s deputies should just let it happen. That’s not their job. They’re responsible for protecting the courtroom, not deciding who they dislike and letting that person be attacked.

We might dislike a person, be tempted to hate a person for what they’ve done.

For Christians who want to celebrate this behavior, we have a duty within our society to honor the laws by which we are governed.

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”
-Romans 13:1-2 

It is not moral for a person to circumvent the law. No matter the pain, no matter what our feelings are towards a criminal. Nassar’s crimes would have been a capitol offense in the Old Testament. But even in favoring the laws of the Old Testament, there was still a due process and order to it. It was never a situation where people could take the law into their own hands.

Justice is one thing, and justice is being served. Revenge is not justice. Furthermore, man parents say what they would do if they were in these situations. For these people, and for every parent, I pray they never are. But it’s easy to talk big about what you would do in a situation you’re not in. Most people, as a matter of fact, do not respond to crime by acting out as vigilantes.